R.I.P. , Frank Drebin

Surely, he seems like an old friend that will no longer be with us. Leslie Nielsen died yesterday at 84 years of age after being on television in it’s infancy and as an actor at MGM as the studio system was disappearing. Nielsen appeared on 1,500 television programs and in over 100 movies beginning in 1948. But for me he hit his stride when comedy became his main genre in the movie Airplane in 1980. Airplane was another comedy like Starwars was another film about outer space. His deadpan delivery of one liners along with a facial expression unique to himself left me laughing in the theater and often thereafter at home even though I knew what was coming. While Airplane and later the Naked Gun series were the hits that exploded his popularity Nielsen played well over 200 roles in his long career.

A Canadian, I don’t know Mr. Nielsen’s politics and I find that very refreshing. And even as I read my opening line I smile inside, not because of anything I’ve said, but in memory of a guy who brought laughter to millions of us and will continue to do so in his life’s work.